Apparently for the last two seasons the hottest pants for spring and summer are the ugliest mother fuckers out there. Let’s take a moment and try to figure out how that makes us – the beautiful sartorial women out there – feel about CULOTTES SPRING PANTS.
I’m taking this serious, as should you, so… should we do lunch, talk it over, and get back with a clear ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ in regards to culottes?
Aaaaand I’m back. I can never do too well on my own, so… let’s have a grown up relationship about this. When last year culottes came banging in as the pants of the season I wasn’t even bothered to stop and consider them as a trend (although they were) much less a possible outfit option for myself.
Culottes are the most chaotic piece of
shit item ever. Not pants, nor shorts, or skirts, not too long, not too short (actually past the knees is the length), hot in the 60s, 70s, and, as my little brain recalls 80s as well. That, or my mother was way behind with her fashion choices, but she had more culottes than I’ve got dumb ideas. And I have a lot of those. To top this culottes chaos, we could address their name as well, which in French means knickers. So… talk about a fucking mess.
Yet… mess(y) they are not. In fact culottes are everything but, and they translate into quite architectural, well structured, quite polished and smart looks. Very high fashion, Parisian (doh) and chic effortless when desired. So… my initial reaction to them is in fact, today, a massive YES.
(1) Frankly we need to break up, at least temporarily, with cutoffs and short shorts, and embrace more feminine, less sexy-by-exposure trends, and more sexy-by-style-&-silhouette looks. Or we’ll just become lazy sartorials, you know.
(2) Culottes, as well defined design-wise as they are, DO come in millions of cuts and styles. Well, not millions but you know what I mean. Any fabric works. Silk is a great option if you don’t like stiff culottes designs. Denim is great if you like more definition in your silhouette.
(3) There’s something very easy going yet luxurious about culottes. They can be very Italian Capri-island-rich-woman-on-vacation (white culottes, sandals and striped top), they can be a Sicilian Dolce & Gabbana style (black culottes, floral or lace bustier top). They can be French artist/fashion girl on a Sunday (culottes with side pockets and a slim tiny sweater), they can be Woody Allen’s 70s New York City intellectual artsy beautiful women (brown culottes, shirt, and a blazer on top).
How to wear them? And can everyone wear them?
Yes. It may seem like a tricky pant style, because it is all about proportion, and finding the right pair could turn into a tricky endeavour, regardless of your size. Unless of course we’re all 6 feet models, then we’re good.
I’ve also strayed from culottes or cropped pants because as a really tall person I’ve been traumatised with never having long enough pants or jeans. At a certain point in my life I wore culottes without them actually being culottes, or without having a clue that such pant style actually existed. So pardon my scepticism when styling a pair of culottes. I have to get past the image of a giraffe dressed in cropped pants, with my face on it. There I said it.
Other than that I’m ready to rawk this trend.
Culottes go best with a more slim cut, fitted or cropped top. They look best with a high waist, well defined, side pockets, because the cut will elongate the silhouette, and tiny tops, fitted shirts, tucked in tiny sweaters, t-shirts, blouses, & bustiers help create a balanced silhouette.
If you want to layer keep your jackets waist-length, or cropped.
Boxy tops, or oversized styles may look good (more high fashion, funky sophisticated) but it’s a matter of proportion. You gotta try it to see if it works.
Heels (sandals, pumps) will always make culottes look smarter, office appropriate, posh. Flats can look very French chic, so can oxfords or brogues. Chunky heels are perfect for a 70s take on the culottes.
Culottes can be a pretty ugly hard trend to swallow, but it’s worth it. We get to step out of our comfort zones, play more with shape, finally find a great item to pair our crop tops with, and all the while look like sophisticated rich vacationers, or fashionable professional women, depending on how we style them.
Here’s how the true sartorials do it…
Get the look:
Leather culottes – Topshop
Denim culottes – 7 For All Mankind
Pleated culottes – Chelsea28 Pleated Culottes
Wide legged – Alice + Olivia High Waist Striped Pleated Culottes